Rick Hill: “He Embarked on Corporate Pay-to-Play Scheme in Congress”
Helena, Mont. – Rick Hill, during his tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, took campaign contributions from questionable corporate entities followed by supporting their legislative interests. The companies involved in this pay-to-play scheme with Rick Hill include Enron, JP Morgan, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Countrywide.
“Rick Hill’s tenure as a member of congress is littered with him supporting corporate interests over those of the average Montanan,” said Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick. “He embarked on a seedy corporate pay-to-play scheme, which involved him receiving thousands of dollars in campaign donations from questionable corporations, and in exchange supported their legislative interests.”
Examples of Congressman Rick Hill’s Pay-to-Play Scheme Include:
Ø Enron: Between 1997-1999, Hill accepted $1,500 in campaign funds from the Enron (1). In 2000, Hill supported Enron’s interests by allowing for what’s known as the “Enron Loophole,” which exempts energy speculators who make trades electronically from government regulation (2). Enron later went bankrupt leaving more than $60 billion worth of public stock worthless. Furthermore, two of Enron’s executives went to prison for lying about profits, concealing its debts and making illicit business deals, and putting more than 5,000 people out of work (3).
Ø JP Morgan + Chase Manhattan: In 1997, Hill accepted $1,500 collectively in campaign funds from JP Morgan and Chase Manhattan (4). In 1999, Hill supported the interests of JP Morgan and Chase Manhattan by voting in favor of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, a “major piece of deregulation” that has been credited with “creating the Wall Street powerhouses that eventually proved too big to fail during the [financial] crisis” (5, 6). Now, JPMorgan Chase is facing a federal examination of their investment practices after losing $2 billion in a portfolio of credit investments due to what the companies CEO claims are “errors, sloppiness, and bad judgment” (7, 8).
Ø Countrywide: In 1997-1999, Hill accepted a total of $1,500 from Countrywide’s PAC (9). In 2000, Hill supported Countrywide’s interests by voting for an anti-consumer bankruptcy aimed at “severely curtailing the ability of individuals to obtain protection from creditors under our nation’s bankruptcy laws” (10). Countrywide has since filed for bankruptcy, and in June 2010 their mortgage and home loans units “agreed to pay $108 million to settle federal charges that the company overcharged customers who were struggling to hang onto their homes” (11, 12).
“This is unacceptable and voters deserve to know the truth about Rick Hill and his schilling for corporate fat cats in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Dick.
Check the Facts (Sources):
1. Opensecrets.org. “PAC Contributions to Representative Rick Hill.” 1996-2000.
2. Congressional Research Service. “The Enron Loophole.” July 7, 2008.
3. New York Times. “Enron Chiefs Guilty of Fraud and Conspiracy.” May 25, 2006.
4. Opensecrets.org. “PAC Contributions to Representative Rick Hill.” 1996-2000.
5. New York Times. “Where to Direct All That Rage.” September 14, 2008. By Ben Stein.
6. New York Times. “Leading the Wall Street Lobby.” July 15, 2011. By Ben Protess.
7. Daily Telegraph. “Wall St faces Fed inquiry after $2bn loss at JP Morgan.” May 19, 2012. By Richard Blackden.
8. New York Times. “A $2 Billion Gets Worse.” May 17, 2012.
9. Opensecrets.org. “PAC Contributions to Representative Rick Hill.” 1996-2000.
10. United Auto Workers. “1999 Roll Call: Key Voting Issues House.” www.uaw.org.
11. Associated Press. “Bankruptcy watchdogs seek to sanction Countrywide Financial.” February 29, 2008. By Peg Brickley.
12. New York Times. “Countrywide Financial Corporation.” December 21, 2011.